‘Security is still gagging Sudanese press’: journalist
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is still harassing journalists and columnists, says Mujahed Abdallah, one of the three journalists who are currently banned from publishing.
“The NISS agents are using the Security Act to summon journalists, detain them, and stop them from publishing without charges,” he told Radio Dabanga in an interview broadcast today.
“At the present time, apart from myself, Osman Shabbona and El Taher Abujawhara are not allowed to write.
The banned journalist said he raised a complaint about the NISS action to the Sudanese Journalists' Union. “Unfortunately, I have not received any reaction so far. I am not surprised however, as the Union is penetrated by members of the ruling regime.”
He said that the largest press gagging took place in 2012 when NISS officers detained 15 journalists, among them Esam Jafar, Abuzar El Amin, El Haj Warrag, Amel Habani, and Rasha Awad.
“Most of the journalists banned from publishing in the past years have left the country, and continue to write and publish electronically.”
Abdallah called on Sudanese journalists “to wake up from their sleep, stand up, and defend their colleagues who are being persecuted and harassed regardless of their political or intellectual affiliation.
“The press is not only for bread winning but it is linked to the rights and freedoms of the people. Journalists should expose the various violations of press freedom which is one of the basic rights of the citizens.
In its report about press freedoms in the fourth quarter of last year, the Sudanese Journalists Network noted an increase of violations, such as summons, detentions, and prosecutions of journalists, and the confiscation of newspapers. A total of 38 print-runs were confiscated in the last quarter, and 11 journalists were summoned or detained.
According to the report, the NISS uses the “weapon of confiscation” of the printed copies in order to impoverish the newspapers that violate the “red lines” imposed by the authorities. Another way is to deny the acquisition of advertisements.
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